Lentils Have Nothing to Do With Lent

by Christine Sine

Ashes on our foreheads

As you know I am getting ready for the celebration of Lent. Probably you will not be surprised to hear that this year we plan to use A Journey Into Wholeness for our daily reflections. I will also use the amazing new Lenten prayer cards as a focal point on my desk. I plan to write my weekly commitment on the back of the appropriate prayer as a constant reminder throughout the day of how seriously I need to take this commitment.

Monday the MSA staff will talk about the practices we plan to adopt for the season. Usually Tom and I assume the discipline of the $2 challenge, restricting our daily expenditure on food to $2/day for at least one week of Lent. That means a lot of lentils, beans and rice. Pad Thai is also good. It also means relying on vegetables from the garden. Definitely vegetarian. No eating out. Making everything from scratch – maybe even getting back into bread making.

In researching recipes to get ready for this challenge, I have read about lentils. The lowly lentil has been sustaining human kind for thousands of years. Some foodies once considered lentils as poor man’s food and refused to eat them because they are so inexpensive. Ironic isn’t it? Although they may be cheap, lentils are very nutritious, filling, and more importantly, arguably the most flavorful of all the legumes. The name lentil has nothing to do with Lent but they make a great Lenten staple. So lets go on a diet this Lent – not to lose weight but to identify with those live on the fringes of society.(more info here)

The Ayme family in their kitchen house in Tingo, Ecuador, a village in the central Andes, with one week’s worth of food.

The Ayme family in their kitchen house in Tingo, Ecuador, a village in the central Andes, with one week’s worth of food.

Believe it or not I love this. I revisit the images in Hungry Planet, by Peter Menzel, like the one above that depict what people in different parts of the world eat each day, (see other images here) and am reminded of the privileges of our lives – the food we take for granted and the blessings of always having enough.  Yet in other parts of the world many still struggle to find enough to eat each day. Bread for the World tells us that worldwide, the number of hungry people has dropped significantly over the past two decades, but 842 million people continue to struggle with hunger every day.1.2 billion people still live in extreme poverty — on less than $1.25 per day not just for their food budget but for everything.  And most sobering of all, each year, 2.6 million children die as a result of hunger-related causes.

So will you join me in taking Lent seriously this year not just for your own inner journey but for those at the margins and for our planet as well?

You may also like

Leave a Comment